Most of us have heard our parents and grandparents say, “When I was a kid, we made our own Halloween costumes…and they were a lot better than what you can buy today!”
We have located photographic proof that that statement is 100 percent correct: Ossian Brown’s 2011 book, “Haunted Air: A collection of anonymous Hallowe’en photographs; America, c. 1875 – 1955.”
The book is a compilation of pictures showing just how creative Americans could be when faced with putting together a scary costume without the benefit of mega-stores filled with plastic masks of comic book and cartoon characters.
At 216 pages long, “Haunted Air” contains a number of photographs for anyone seeking inspiration for their own homemade Halloween costume. We have selected eight of our favorite images.
Our first entry features a group wearing very simple masks that appear to be made from basic brown paper grocery bags, with a couple of accessories (ears, noses and hair).
Would you be scared if this papier-mâché masked trio showed up at your house? (We would be.)
Simple costumes make for strong images:
Perhaps this child grew up to be one of those people who don giant heads to march in parades:
These two masked children appear to be posing with an adult in a witch costume. Throughout the book, families can be seen posing for Halloween “portraits”:
If they remove the masks (they appear to be paper bags) and put school books in their hands, this might be a “first day of the school year” photo:
The images in “Haunted Air” also include some very detailed and complicated costumes that probably took considerable time to conceive and create.
We’re fairly certain PETA would have a problem if stores tried to sell the “Hunter Captures Bear” costume set:
Could this be an early appearance of “Raggedy Ann & Andy?” We’re not certain, but that’s what popped to mind when we saw this shot (we have no explanation for the zombie that they have in tow):
The last of our eight favorites from “Haunted Air,” is a masked person (opinions here are split on if this is a boy or a girl) holding a teddy bear and a doll. Just creepy:
Do you have a classic, homemade Halloween costume? How about an old family photo (cute or terrifying) from Halloween? Send it to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you might see it as part of our Halloween costume slide show.
Check out a dozen more images from “Haunted Air” on Women’sPost.com.
Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @stuntbrain